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Manufacturing relocation through offshoring and backshoring : The case of Sweden

Johansson, Malin LU and Olhager, Jan LU (2018) In Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present recent empirical results concerning offshoring and backshoring of manufacturing from and to Sweden, to increase the understanding of manufacturing relocation in an international context. In particular, extent, geographies, type of production, drivers, and benefits of moving manufacturing in both directions are investigated. Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on survey data from 373 manufacturing plants. The same set of questions is used for both offshoring and backshoring between 2010 and 2015, which allows similarities and differences in decision-making and results between the two relocation directions to be identified. Findings – There are many significant differences... (More)

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present recent empirical results concerning offshoring and backshoring of manufacturing from and to Sweden, to increase the understanding of manufacturing relocation in an international context. In particular, extent, geographies, type of production, drivers, and benefits of moving manufacturing in both directions are investigated. Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on survey data from 373 manufacturing plants. The same set of questions is used for both offshoring and backshoring between 2010 and 2015, which allows similarities and differences in decision-making and results between the two relocation directions to be identified. Findings – There are many significant differences between offshoring and backshoring projects. Labour cost is the dominating factor in offshoring, as driver and benefit, while backshoring is related to many drivers and benefits, such as quality, lead-time, flexibility, access to skills and knowledge, access to technology, and proximity to R&D. This is also reflected in the type of production that is relocated; labour-intensive production is offshored and complex production is backshored. Research limitations/implications – Plants that have both offshored and backshored think and act differently than plants that have only offshored or backshored, which is why it is important to distinguish between these plant types in the context of manufacturing relocations. Practical implications – The experience of Swedish manufacturing plants reported here can be used as a point of reference for internal manufacturing operations. Originality/value – The survey design allows a unique comparison between offshoring and backshoring activity. Since Swedish firms in general have been quite active in rearranging their manufacturing footprint and have experience from movements in both directions, it is an appropriate geographical area to study in this context.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Global manufacturing networks, Global operations, International manufacturing networks, Operations management, Reshoring, Rightshoring, Survey research
in
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85037990838
ISSN
1741-038X
DOI
10.1108/JMTM-01-2017-0006
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
073e9848-cf8f-47c3-9293-b24086a6bb4a
date added to LUP
2018-01-02 13:38:49
date last changed
2018-01-02 13:38:49
@article{073e9848-cf8f-47c3-9293-b24086a6bb4a,
  abstract     = {<p>Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present recent empirical results concerning offshoring and backshoring of manufacturing from and to Sweden, to increase the understanding of manufacturing relocation in an international context. In particular, extent, geographies, type of production, drivers, and benefits of moving manufacturing in both directions are investigated. Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on survey data from 373 manufacturing plants. The same set of questions is used for both offshoring and backshoring between 2010 and 2015, which allows similarities and differences in decision-making and results between the two relocation directions to be identified. Findings – There are many significant differences between offshoring and backshoring projects. Labour cost is the dominating factor in offshoring, as driver and benefit, while backshoring is related to many drivers and benefits, such as quality, lead-time, flexibility, access to skills and knowledge, access to technology, and proximity to R&amp;D. This is also reflected in the type of production that is relocated; labour-intensive production is offshored and complex production is backshored. Research limitations/implications – Plants that have both offshored and backshored think and act differently than plants that have only offshored or backshored, which is why it is important to distinguish between these plant types in the context of manufacturing relocations. Practical implications – The experience of Swedish manufacturing plants reported here can be used as a point of reference for internal manufacturing operations. Originality/value – The survey design allows a unique comparison between offshoring and backshoring activity. Since Swedish firms in general have been quite active in rearranging their manufacturing footprint and have experience from movements in both directions, it is an appropriate geographical area to study in this context.</p>},
  author       = {Johansson, Malin and Olhager, Jan},
  issn         = {1741-038X},
  keyword      = {Global manufacturing networks,Global operations,International manufacturing networks,Operations management,Reshoring,Rightshoring,Survey research},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.},
  series       = {Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management},
  title        = {Manufacturing relocation through offshoring and backshoring : The case of Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-01-2017-0006},
  year         = {2018},
}